ONE VICTORY AND ONE MORE TO GO
The political battles in Arizona are long, very long. Especially in the last six years, the battles have been intense but there have been a number of victories. One such victory is that of Crystal Terriquez.
She is the young woman Rudy Acuña wrote about, and I wrote about a few weeks ago, who had lost her job as a result of getting arrested in defense of ethnic studies, the day after Gov. Brewer signed the anti-ethnic studies bill HB 2281 in May 2010.
In trying to save her job she received many letters of support. Her employer still fired her. But no matter, in the course of a month, she found a new job and our community also responded and raised enough money to cover all the bills she had to pay while without a job.
The next job at hand is to have the verdicts set aside (this will involve setting aside guilty verdicts for 5 of us). Toward this end, we have found an attorney that will do that. If you can, please send what you can, otherwise sending a letter of support is good enough because all we need is less than $1000 now. And we will get it. We will do a fundraiser in Tucson on December 7. It will most likely involve raffle tickets for artwork. We'll keep you posted.
In the meantime, please consider sending in a contribution for the legal expenses. Any amount is welcome. For the paypal link, click here. Or copy and paste this address: https://www.wepay.com/donations/help-out-mas-alum-crystal-terriquez-fired-for-defending-ethnic-studies
If you would rather mail in a contribution to her, put it in her name and mail it to me at:
Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez - PO BOX 3812 - Tucson Arizona, 85722. Or contact her directly at:%email@example.com">%firstname.lastname@example.org"> email@example.com
For info, you can reach me at: 520-271-6796 or%20XColumn@gmail.com">%20XColumn@gmail.com"> XColumn@gmail.com
* After we finish this, we need to concentrate or focus nationwide in raising money for MAS director, Sean Arce and MAS teacher, Jose Gonzalez, who are facing what appears to be blatantly frivolous lawsuit. To get information on that case go to: http://threesonorans.com/raza-defense-fund/
(Photo above: Crystal is second from the left with her MAS sisters Mariah, Priscilla, and Alanna.)
In Defense of Raza/Indigenous Studies:
Supporting MAS Students - This time, it’s personal
by Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
Seemingly few people realize that when the state came after Ethnic Studies in Arizona a few years ago, it was because the state deemed Raza Studies to be outside of western civilization.
That’s Pat Buchanan-speak for: Brown people are savages. Actually, it’s Torquemada-speak for these brown people are pagan. This war has actually been an old-school Inquisition against the Indigenous culture of Mexican/Chicano peoples.
Yet, one thing is to go after a program, a department or even a discipline (including the teachers and the director), but now, this civilizational war has become even more personal.
Last week, renowned professor, Rodolfo Acuña, wrote in one of his columns about a young woman who was fired as a result of getting arrested in May 2010, the day after the anti-Ethnic Studies HB 2281 legislation was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer.
The truth is, she is not the first MAS supporter who has been fired. The loss of her job was a direct result of advocating on behalf of students (she continues to not want to go public on this yet).
But the one student Rudy alluded to has gone public; her name is Cristal Terriquez.
She actually wasn’t the only one arrested that day. There were 15 total who were taken away. She was one of them. So was I. But truly, it was a student protest. The year before, at the end of June, as a community, we ran from Tucson to Phoenix in 115° heat. During that run, Crystal and her sister were my running partners. They were both overcome with heat stroke. Others were also overcome by heat stroke, whereas one of the runners had a series of epileptic seizures.
But back to the protest. When students learned that then state schools’ superintendent, Tom Horne (the person that had engineered HB 2281) was coming to district headquarters for a meeting with district officials that morning, some 1,000 high school and middle school students walked out of their classes and surrounded the district headquarters. Rather than face the students, Horne instead went to the state building and held a press conference. Several hundred students then marched over to the state building, and proceeded to occupy the building and successfully shut it down. Several dozen students went upstairs, held a sit-in and eventually were arrested. I joined them because I saw law enforcement officers roughing up the students). Of the 15 who were taken into custody, charges were dropped on 10 of the arrestees. Five of us were found guilty and were given community service and probation. This included Cristal.
Two years later, Cristal was fired precisely because of that arrest. We had all been told that if we did not get arrested again, after completing the community service and the probation, that the charges would most likely be expunged.
The 5 of us are currently looking for an attorney willing to file a petition to expunge those records. If all goes right, that will be taken care of soon. But at the moment, Crystal has lost her job. When I say personal, I feel the same way as many in our community do; she sacrificed herself, and thus our community owes her.
In Arizona, and specifically Tucson, we are seemingly in perpetual crises. Money has to be raised for lawsuits to defend Mexican American Studies and to defend one of the teachers and the former director of MAS, Jose Gonzalez and Sean Arce, respectively from what appears to be a blatantly frivolous lawsuit). But we also have to raise money for SB 1070 related issues. And just as importantly money for Dream Students.
In Arizona we are tapped out. But so is the rest of the nation. We understand that. The only difference is that Tucson fully finds itself in a unique position. As we know, SB 1070 is an attack on the body – on the brown color of our skin. HB 2021 attacks both our mind and our spirit. This is what makes Tucson unique; in effect this is where the right wing has decided that our [Indigenous] culture and history is illegitimate and now illegal.
There are many more casualties here in Arizona. Many of them are women. Who can forget May 3, 2011, when 7 women – young students, community members and elders – were arrested for reading at the militarized school board meeting. This was on the heels of the April 26, 2011, student takeover of the school board the previous week, led by the student group UNIDOS, the majority young women. There's been lots written about what has happened here in Tucson. And yet much of the story is still unwritten. I don't think I've ever read anything that Crystal has written. Actually, she collaborated with Amoxtli X – The X Codex (will attach at the end here).
Some of the students are indeed now writing. Some do great video work. Previously, they had been documenting their history with their footprints, writing their story with their actions; a truly heroic story. Not all of it is romantic, though. Some involves external conflict. Some of it involves internal conflict. This is similar to the Empire Zinc Mine strike (as depicted in Salt of the Earth). And this is what’s important to remember; this is not a movie. We are living this reality. And it's not all a pretty picture. In the near future, some of those other conflicts will come to the surface.
For now, I feel compelled to support Cristal, who has stepped forward, not once nor twice but many times. Many of the young women, like Crystal almost cannot be recognized without their megaphone. Make no mistake, the battle in Tucson has been led from the beginning primarily by students, and the strongest of the leaders have been young women.
So here what I'm writing about, is a nationwide appeal. Many of us here in Tucson understand that we are all tapped out, but a young woman like Crystal does not deserve this. We will find an attorney to expunge the records, but in the meantime, she has also lost her job. A PayPal account has been created with the expressed purpose of supporting her. Through legal action hopefully she will get her job back or even find a new one, or maybe even a better one. But in the meantime, she has a mortgage to pay, many bills and no income.
Akin to what Acuña does for the teachers, I want to post this information until it is no longer necessary. I hope everyone can do the same. Send it to all your social networks. But don't just do that; please consider contributing to her also.
As a community we owe it to her. For those looking for speakers around the country, please consider inviting Cristal. She can be reached at:%firstname.lastname@example.org">%email@example.com">%firstname.lastname@example.org">%email@example.com">%firstname.lastname@example.org">%email@example.com">%firstname.lastname@example.org"> email@example.com
Amoxtl X - The X Codex:
WHY I FIGHT FOR RAZA STUDIES
Crystal Terriquez Pima Community College
For the story, go to: http://drcintli.blogspot.com/